Monday, February 27, 2012

I, Mall Ninja.

This post is going to focus on three things that I think are good ideas, but that are typically sneered at by a lot of people as 'mall ninja.' I figured I'd go ahead and save anyone who felt the need to start casting aspersions at me for thinking these thing are good ideas rather than making reasoned arguments against by going ahead and dubbing myself with that particular pejorative.

To get it out of the way, I am NOT a high speed, low drag, DEVGRU, tactical operator. I don't think I ever will be, and I don't want to be. I'm a guy who installs satellite tv for a living, drives a beat up car, and lives in an old trailer (mobile home if you want to church it up). My formal firearms training has been an NRA First Steps Pistol class and an abbreviated pistol class with Tom Givens.

That said, I'm a pretty good shot. How that would translate to a gunfight I can't say for sure, but it's got to help. I mean, it's not like guys who make a profession of getting into gunfights don't practice, is it?

Look, I don't want to go chase hajji around the mountains and through the caves of Afghanistan, but is it some insult to the guy who does that if I'd like to be as competent with my firearms as he is? I mean, I know how to treat a wound, that doesn't mean I think I'm an EMT. Just the same, I'd be willing to bet I can put pressure on a bleeding wound damn near as well.

So to the meat of it.

First, I like body armor. I think it's a damned good idea. I love the concept behind the US Palm Defender. If you'd keep a pistol near your bedside why not that as well? I'm not planning on getting shot, but shit happens. I mean, who the fuck expects to get shot? Hell, I don't even expect to be the victim of a violent crime, why the fuck should I carry a gun?*

Taking the thought a little further, I own an AR rifle, (because I think it makes a great defensive tool especially since I live in a place where the response time to an assault in progress is around 45 minutes) so wouldn't some heavier body armor make just as much sense in a scenario where I might need a rifle or shotgun? I think so.

So maybe I'll never need it. I never needed a seat belt, either. Until I did. I've never needed a fire extinguisher. I've never needed to treat a gunshot wound.

Think about that last one for a minute. How many of you think having some type of body armor is a bit crazy/paranoid/useless, and yet you've got the stuff to treat a gunshot wound on hand? Why the hell would you keep something to treat a problem, but not something to prevent it. A condom will keep you from needing a shot of penicillin. It's the same principle.

Second, I'd like to know how to fight with a firearm as a member of a team. I'll probably never need to, but I'll probably never need to apply a tourniquet either. This just seems like it would be good general knowledge. I mean, why would knowing how to safely and effectively use firearms around and in conjunction with other people be a bad thing?

People tend to think a desire for this knowledge means you're a SWAT or SOF wannabe, as if they've never seen on live tv a major metropolitan area completely loose all government service, including police, FOR FUCKING DAYS. I mean, if my neighbors and I have to guard our homes and other property for a few days if something crazy happens I would think it would be nice if someone had a little knowledge about how to do that effectively.

Third, I would also like to know how to clear a building, both by myself and and with a partner/group. I know. You shouldn't do that. Especially by yourself. You shouldn't move someone who might have a neck or back injury either, so clearly you should leave them in a burning car. My point is, sometimes in life you are faced with trade offs.** I'm not waiting outside for the police if I hear my sister screaming in fear next door after I see two guys with machetes kick in her door. I'm also not going to sit still in an active shooter situation if I'm in WalMart with my friend Logan. We're going to get the fuck out of there, but clearing the areas we move through would probably be safer than running blindly toward the nearest door while screaming our heads off.

I'm not one of those people who thinks having a clue or some resources about how to handle unlikely scenarios somehow means I'm going to go looking for those scenarios. I think having these tools in my toolbox would be a good thing. I've got a ton of sockets I never use, yet I don't regret buying them. Hell, truth be told you could say that about most of my personal tools. But every once and a while....

If all that makes me a mall ninja then I guess I'm it.

*That was rhetorical. I hope I didn't need this note.

**More like all the time if you ask me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Libertarians, revisted.


H/t Tam

Link fixed.

Whiskey tango foxtrot, Amazon!!

It is extremely disconcerting to wake up after a late night and check your email only to find this.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Robert's Picks


Parliament of Whores by PJ O'Rourke (very good)

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (very good)


Sharpe's Company (good)

Drive (good)

Sharpe's Honour (good)

Takers (good)

Nice shirt!

I may have to pick one of these up, especially since I pieced together my AR.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: Men and Women

This comes from AmericanMercnary:

My final thought.  Our current society sells girls the fiction of "Twilight" and hands little boys a PSP and some people are amazed that relationships are not what they used to be?  This is my shocked face.


Then read this, which is related and interesting as well.

One day.

I'm going to own this gun:

None of that stainless bullshit, just blued steel and walnut.  AS IT SHOULD BE.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Interesting meme.

Found this at the anti-soma:

1. If you could pick a super power, what would it be?

Wolverine's power from the X-Men.  Instantly heal any wound, live forever, and have a built in weapon?  Yes, please.

2.  If you could spend the day with someone (famous or not, still alive or not) who would it be?

Teddy Roosevelt on safari.

3. Have you ever won a contest, award, or prize?

I won the Geography Bee in high school once.  I've also one a couple of small poker tournaments.

4. Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.

I'm not sure if I talked about this before or not (probably).  I've never met my biological father.  I don't even know his name.  I grew up calling my maternal grandparents 'Mom and Dad' and always considered my grandfather to be my father.

5. Take a picture of your desk where you keep your computer and post it without cleaning the desk first.

I put my desk in storage last week.  I never used it anyway.

I did not know that.

I did not know that John Glenn was a Marine. 

Interesting (for me) tie in is that I had I not moved from California to Alabama as a child I would have attended John Glenn High School.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Things may be a little slow around here for a the next while.  My days off were Monday and Tuesday.  Next week they are changing to Thursday and Friday.  Unfortunately that means I'll have worked 8 days straight before my next day off.  I'm one of those people who tends to go a little insane without regular down time so it won't be fun. 

On top of everything we've been busy as hell.  I seem to be having a lot of 9 and 10 hour days.  That can suck, but I'll probably rack up close to 20 hours of overtime this pay period so it will make for a good paycheck.  Maybe after all the other shit I have to take care of I'll have enough left over for something nice for myself.  Somehow I doubt it....

I told you that bitch was crazy.

Most guys have met this woman, or one just like her, at some point in our lives.*

*And vice versa

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interesting conversation.

I had a conversation with a friend tonight that was sparked by our completely different, positive reactions to something I linked on Facebook.  Basically, the conversation was a bit one sided my way as it pretty much necessitated an explanation of my world view, ethics, and a bit of my knowledge of the Bill of Rights.  I talked, and she listened, asking questions and posing scenarios.  Not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing, but listening.

It's a privilege to have someone actually listen to what I have to say, not just to humor me or because they like the sound of my voice, but because they are genuinely interested in my thoughts and opinions.  There was no pressure to convince, just a desire to understand another person's thought process.

It's nice to be able to talk to someone who can disagree with you without making you feel attacked.  So many times conversation devolve to debates or arguments.  Both debates and arguments have their place, but sometimes you just want a pleasant conversation.  

I enjoy talking about the things I'm passionate about without feeling like I have to convince the other person I'm right, or win a debate.  It's so relaxing, and so rare for me to have conversations like that.  I'm very much the debater and arguer (not in the negative fashion, but in the 'be right and prove it' fashion).  Fact is, it can make me a very unpleasant person to be around. 

Tonight I wasn't like that, though.  I'm never like that when I have a conversation with this person.  Respect is a big part of that, I'm sure, maybe the biggest part.  Another major part of it is not feeling threatened.  Not feeling threatened means I don't get defensive, and that means in turn I never feel the need to go on the attack.

How the hell does she completely disarm me and slip inside my defenses?  I can answer that, actually.  She convinces me to let her right in.  And when I do she doesn't do me any harm.  It's a hell of a tactic, beautiful to see.  She'd make one hell of a Secretary of State.  She does make one hell of a good friend.

Trust is something not easily earned from me. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busy, but productive, day.

Woke up this morning and decided that I needed to give my bookshelves a serious once over.  I pulled my desk out of the room with my bookshelves since I never use it and moved it to storage.  I added a fifth 6' bookshelf to the room and went to organizing.  I pulled a bunch of books to take to the used book store, but I'll still need more shelf space soon.

I need more space for future expansion, which is inevitable.  I need space for my comic collection as well.  I hit the used book store, 2nd & Charles, and the stuff I had to turn in netted me a $70 credit.

All these book, DVDs, and comics cost me $10 and a box of stuff I didn't want.

After leaving 2nd & Charles I did a little grocery shopping.  I picked up a bottle of Bulliet bourbon, which I am sampling as I write this.  It's quite nice.  I also picked up a couple of cigars and some Rib-eyes.
It's going to be a good night.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sick, sad, and ashamed.

Go read this article about the situation in Afghanistan by Lt. Col. Daniel L Davis posted by OldNFO (who asked for thoughts at his place). 

My first thought after reading it was that I was glad I'd never joined the military.  In the end I was left feeling sick, sad, and ashamed. 

I don't know exactly when it happened, but this country stopped deserving the military men and women that are willing to put on our nation's uniform a long time ago.  They're honorable, self sacrificing, and good people on the average and we saddle them with a bunch of corrupt kleptocrats who think you develop strategy by taking an opinion poll once a month.  

February Gun Giveaways.

Courtesy of Aaron at the Weapon Blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


- Today was my first day at work that I didn't come home with a sore leg, which was nice.  Except for a few times I didn't notice any pain at all which is a huge improvement from last week.  I worked as late today as I did just about every work day last week and I feel like I have a whole lot more energy so I'm guessing the pain was taking more out of me than I realized.

- Yesterday my friend Kris posted this on my Facebook wall:  "I was just thinking the other day that if the world fell to chaos, I'd head to Birmingham and hang near you. I think I'd feel safer that way. I know, totally random. I think about stuff like this. Haha."  That made me feel pretty awesome.

- Over the weekend my Sony 5-disc DVD player shit the bed.  It will power on but I can't get it to load any DVDs so I guess I'll be upgrading to a BluRay player in the next month or so.  Thinking about this one.  For the time being I'll muddle along using the DVD player in my laptop.

- I'm really, really enjoying watching the first season of Boardwalk Empire on DVD.   

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I would love a lever action shotgun.

Just not this one.

An Award!


 Yesterday OldNFO left me a comment letting my know he'd given my blog an award.  I'm honored to be one of the five he picked, and thankful for the kind words he had to say about me.

Below are the rules of the award:

1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five fifteen blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

So, here are my five:

1.  OldNFO-Yes, the very man who gave me this award.  The why of it is simple. I've enjoyed his blog since the first time I came across it.  He is man who has a wealth of experience and a history of long service to his country.  He is an excellent story teller and does not pull any punches when it comes to saying when he thinks.  I'll take brutal honesty from someone I disagree with (which is not often in this case) any day of the week.  He is also one of the few bloggers who I've met in real life, and true pleasure to have shared a firing line with.

2.  North-I always look forward to another of his Whiteboard Words of Wisdom and the great photos he posts.  He's also one of the few bloggers who has made a point to comment on my random scribblings.  

3.  Random Acts of Patriotism-Another very enjoyable read.  We don't always agree on every issue but we can disagree completely and recognize the value of the discussion and the importance of having the freedom to disagree.  I really enjoy his posts about older rifles and uncompromising attitude when it comes to politicians and their games.

4.  Tango Juliet-A fellow disciple of the 1911.  He also has great taste in movies.

5.  American Mercenary-This is a blog full of information that will be very helpful to anyone who is ever faced with having to actually fight a tyrannical government, written by someone who is a soldier and father that recognizes that the dangers facing us in the years to come exist both outside and within our borders.  He's also funny.

Most of bloggers I've listed have been awarded at least once already, but these are my favorites and there is definitely a reason they definitely deserve multiple awards.

Feb. 7, 2005.

Seven years ago I put up my first post on this blog.  At the time it was an AOL Journal.  AOL did away with those but gave all the users the option to move all their posts over to blogger.  I took advantage of that.

I really started this as just a record of my life and what was going on.  It still is that in a lot of ways, but I slowly over the last few years shifted into doing a lot of gun blogging.  I didn't start as a gun blogger.  I was a blogger long before guns become such a central focus for me.

Gun blogging opened up a whole new world for me, and introduced me to host of intriguing personalities who have a lot more to talk about than just guns.

I have changed a lot over the years as I've gained more knowledge and experience in the world.  I owe a lot of thanks for that knowledge to all of the other bloggers I read, even the ones I've had disagreements with.  They've made me think, pointed me in new and interesting directions, and challenged my prejudices on a variety of topics.

I'd like to thank all of you who have stopped by to read what I have to say, commented, and occasionally linked me at your own blogs.  So, thanks!  

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'll see your knife, and raise you a shotgun!

It seems a local asshole suffered an acute failure of the victim selection process when he pulled a knife on a business owner:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Authorities today released the identity of a man fatally shot Friday night inside a North Birmingham business.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Phillip Russell identified the victim as William Leon Mason, 42.

Birmingham police said Mason had been going to several shops around 27th Street North and harassing people when a shop owner told him to leave his business -- Soul Ville Head Shop.
Mason pulled a knife on the shop owner, and the shop owner pulled a shotgun and fired, striking Mason in the chest, authorities said.
Yet the anti-gunners would prefer the business owner be unarmed and at the mercy of a knife wielding man.  This will be listed as a 'gun death,' and in fact the Birmingham News' headline almost makes you think some poor innocent was shot until you read the actual article and find out it was a defensive gun use.

Quote of the Day: Busy Bodies

I hate HR:

The pretentious 20-something year old human resources chick said “I understand you were not offended, and yes, it was a private discussion, but two of your coworkers brought this incident to our attention because they were offended on your behalf, and were outraged that you were subjected to this type of language in the office.”

Offended by proxy. How in holy hell did we let things get this out of hand?


H/t Captain Capitalism

Friday, February 3, 2012

A strength I will admit I've never had.

And because of that, one I respect all the more.  Care of OldNFO here is a poem about what it is to be a US Marine, followed by a letter from the warrior poet to his father:

We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around..

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
And protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U..S. MARINE!
So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.
Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor.
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done
By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert , US Marine Corps USS SAIPAN, PERSIAN GULF 
 Hey Dad,
Do me a favor and label this 'The Marine' and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US and Canada and The World. I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it. And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. 

You know what Dad? I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in his inaugural speech. 'When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it.' Well, now I know. And I do.. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home. I love you all and I miss you very much.  I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.

Pass it along.


"I am the only one professional enough to steal guns from the evidence locker."
TARRANT, Alabama -- A former Tarrant police officer who resigned in January after a probe into guns stolen from the department's evidence locker has been charged with theft and is surrendering to authorities.
He has been booked into the county jail and is being held on a $135,000 bond.  I hope he can't come up with the money, and I hope he is convicted of the felony charges.  Stealing from the evidence locker...what a moron.

Hats off to the Tarrant PD for investigating and following through with the charges, as well as for requesting an outside agency to perform it's own investigation for the sake of objectivity.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trying to stay positive.

Work is starting a to become a place I dread.  While my skill level and ability have shown a steady and documented rise over the last six months I've had more negative encounters with management in the last month than in the almost two years of employment prior. 

It's extremely disheartening to have spent six months working hard making improvements after I realized things were not good, have no feedback or encouragement even though I made a definite turn around, only to now when I'm starting to feel some real pride for what I'm doing to start getting the "you're not doing well enough and you'd better fix it but don't take this conversation as a negative because I'm trying to help you" speech.  No, you're trying to cover your ass in case the overall numbers don't look good.  You don't give a flying fuck all about me. 

I hate corporate speak.  I hate the "We're all in this together!" bullshit when every manager in the place is working hard and fast to generate whatever paper trail they can to cover their own asses.  And I don't blame them.  It's the only way they can survive in a corporate environment (short of nepotism). 

I saw this coming.  I fucking predicted it when some people got promoted and some left.  I knew the days of CYA were inbound. 

I'm too honest and too outspoken.  Those are my biggest weaknesses in a "CYA is all that matters" environment.  I'm just going to have to force myself to keep my mouth shut and get my numbers up however I can.

And I'm going to have to start looking at other options.  It's clear to me that the larger an organization you work for the more frustrating and demoralizing the environment will be.  I will do this job as long as I have to, but as soon as I see something better on the horizon I'm jumping ship.  I'm going to have to for my own sanity. 

And yes, I understand my stresses and unhappinesses are nothing compared to some other people's.  I'm sympathetic.  But I can only live my life, and deal with it the best way I can.  One of those ways is to come on my blog and bitch and moan about the things that make me unhappy.  If you think it's pathetic, silly, or a waste of time you don't have to read it.  This is my place to vent, even about my stupid, first world, civilian, American, white, male, petty frustrations.

Things will probably get better.  I've managed to improve myself and my situation a little bit more every day.  I'll continue to do that as long as I can.  But in the mean time it helps some to bitch about it.

Chris Costa Action Figure.

Completely silly.  I want one.